Happy Mondays’ Bez feared for his life during battle with COVID-19

“I really seriously thought I was going to die”

Happy Mondays dancer and percussionist Mark ‘Bez’ Berry has opened up about his experience with COVID-19, saying he felt like he was dying after he came down with the virus.

In a new interview with the Daily Star, Bez revealed he was hospitalised with the Coronavirus a full week before it was announced as a pandemic.

“I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t tell if it was my heart or my lungs,” he told the newspaper’s Wired column.

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“I got to the hospital and I said, ‘I’ve been having this heart attack for three days’ and they plugged me into the machines and everything and I had a swollen heart and a virus. I really seriously thought I was going to die.”

Bez noted that he did fully heal from his bout with COVID-19, partially crediting his recovery to a training regime he’d been on to prepare for a boxing match against former Manchester United footballer Clayton Blackmore.

“I continued my juicing and taking my vitamin C, drinking my apple cider vinegar and I did get over it very, very quickly,” the 57-year-old said.

Bez wasn’t the only member of the Happy Mondays to be diagnosed with COVID-19, however, as frontman Shaun Ryder – who was once sacked as a postman for biting a dog – was reportedly struck with the virus months later.

“Shaun had it for like three weeks,” Bez told the Daily Star. “He was hallucinating and having visitations from the aliens telling him he would be all right. I was quite worried about old Shaun as he isn’t the healthiest man in the world.

“I’ve always told him to take Vitamin C and all that but he says, ‘I’m allergic to it.’ But it transpired he could only eat fruit as he was that ill, and he [has] alopecia so all his hair has fallen out, but from only eating fruit and getting his Vitamin C his hair started growing back. Like I told him, ‘It was a COVID miracle.’”

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Ryder spoke about his experience last March – although he didn’t outright confirm he was diagnosed with COVID-19 – saying he and his wife were “floored” by their symptoms.

In their post-partying years, both members have embraced lives in the fitness world, Ryder in particular saying he was able to kick his drug addiction by taking up cycling. At the start of 2021, Bez launched a series of fitness videos titled Get Buzzin’ With Bez.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Bez will take part in a wing-walk to support music mental health charity Tonic. The event is scheduled to go down in September.

Elsewhere in Bez-related news, last week saw the Madchester legend team up with house producer DJ Doorly to make his vocal debut, appearing on the new track ‘Flying Bus’.

Bez will be portrayed by James Nelson-Joyce in the upcoming film Twisting My Melon. Speaking to NME about the part, the actor said Bez “couldn’t believe I was a Scouser!”

“Let’s put it this way,” he said, “I’m not the best dancer there is, but when I auditioned I had to send off a little two-step and it’s safe to say I’ve got a bit of work to do to be as good as Bez. Watching him on stage, he’s still got it. I was watching thinking ‘I got to live up to this!’”

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